Cellpic Sunday – 31 May 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

It was Spring 2020 in the White Tank Mountains. Even on our hikes, we were social distancing, single file, group photos taken in the line we’d formed as we hiked down the trail instead of gathering around a single person to grab a “group selfie.” The cactus flowers were plentiful, the day warm and sunny and I had plenty of opportunity to capture those rarely seen flowering cactus. One family of cacti, the Cholla has several varieties. The two that I’ve found most hard to distinguish are the Staghorn and the Buckhorn. For this post, I ended up looking for a definitive source to describe the difference here. The short synopsis of the difference is that they “are sometimes hard to distinguish.” They have similar blossoms, but the most obvious distinction is in the fruit. Well there you go. I’ve never seen a fruit on either variety. Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 24 May 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

In March of this year, the desert was awash with spring flowers near our home in Buckeye. There was no shortage of opportunity to capture the bright yellow brittlebush plants that are plentiful in the Sonoran Desert. On one of our Saturday hikes, I was still learning about the new Samsung S20U phone that replaced my personal S6 and the “work” phone that was provided to me from Civil Air Patrol (CAP). That phone, a Samsung S7, captured many images that I shared here because of my 4-year tenure as North Dakota Wing Commander in CAP. As of April 4, I would rotate out of that job and the S7 would be retired as I no longer need a CAP-provided cell phone. Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 22 March 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

With my retirement as North Dakota Wing Commander, I give up access to a business phone provided by Civil Air Patrol (CAP). When I took that job four years ago, my personal phone was a Samsung S6. Other than occasional use, most of the time, it was shut off and all calls were sent to my CAP cell phone so I wouldn’t have to carry two phones around. Continue reading

Fort Morgan – Historic Rainbow Arch Bridge

Fort Morgan, Colorado.

In 1922, the Colorado Bridge and Construction Company began constructing a multi-span, reinforced concrete arch bridge across the South Platte River in eastern Colorado. The bridge was completed in 1923 and named The Rainbow Arch Bridge. Located adjacent to State Highway 52 and a much newer set of highway bridges, the Rainbow Arch Bridge was closed for a time in 2015 to complete repair work and a freshening due to damage and flooding in 2013 and 2015. It is now open again, and like before, it is only used for pedestrian access to nearby Riverside Park. To visit the bridge, take state highway 52 north from I-76 (Exit 80). Continue reading

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Narrow

This week, Amy asks us to get narrow-minded… er, ah…. well, that’s not exactly the way she put it. What she wrote was, “Travel has taught me that once we go through a narrow path, alley, and/or road with a little patience, at the end it always opens up to pleasant surprises. The experience certainly has broadened my horizon allowing me to see the world through different eyes. Thus, I choose “narrow” for this week’s theme. We hope you will join us and share your photos with us.” You can read her entire challenge post here. Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 16 February 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

On our last Thursday hike in January, we headed on a round-about way to the highest point on Turnbuckle Trail. The views of the park and beyond are beyond the capability of even the best cameras. Given that, having only my Samsung S6 with me, I submit for your review a view of the valley to the west of Skyline Park. This vantage point is almost 650 feet (200 m) above the desert floor. Continue reading

Saguaro – The Passing of Two Giants

Goodyear, Arizona.

On a cold January day in 2013, we discovered the Rainbow Valley Trail in Estrella Park. One of our favorite trails, Rainbow Valley is on my list to hike annually. Less than a mile from the trailhead, at a sharp bend in the trail stood two giant saguaros. These giants are among the largest we’ve seen. Since then, I’ve learned much about the iconic succulent that lives only in the Sonoran Desert. They live some 200 years or more and don’t start developing those characteristic “arms” until the latter half of their first century of life. Given the size of these two, they certainly must have reached the second century mark by now. Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 9 February 2020

Waddell, Arizona.

In the White Tank Mountain Regional Park, one of my favorite hikes is from Mesquite Canyon Trail to Willow Canyon Trail. The climb is slow and steady, almost 1500 feet (457 m) from the parking area to the highest point on the trails. The good news is that the climb comes early when one is fresh and the trek on the way back is mostly downhill. Continue reading

FortWhyte Alive – The Fort That Never Was

Winnipeg, Manitoba.

So, I borrowed their “Fort That Never Was” reference from the website of this nature preserve. FortWhyte is a neighborhood that was the center of a dispute on railway construction. The confrontation somehow led the area to the name “FortWhyte” after the head of the Canadian Pacific Railway, William Whyte. I’ll let you, dear reader, explore the park’s website here if you want to learn a little more of that early history.

In the mid-20th century, the Wildlife Foundation of Manitoba began converting the site to a wildlife habitat but by the 1980’s, their focus shifted toward environmental education. The trails and Interpretive Centre opened in 1983. If you are really interested in the history of the place, on their website, you’ll find a seven volume blog featuring the park’s first fifty years here. Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 12 January 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

While on one of our weekly hikes a few weeks ago, we happened upon a couple of trail maintenance tools sitting beside the trail. Not being trained in that particular skill, I can only assume that the pick is used to remove or modify stubborn rocks that might be a tripping hazard. I’m sure it has plenty of other uses. Continue reading